The old-fashioned credit boom airplane erratically dumps bogus cycle-data-fuel before lurching toward whatever landing – crash or bumpy – awaits. Alarmed, the UK government’s top war-crimes financier Gordon Brown has reached for that vision thing, most probably to confuse people in the run up to military aggression against Iran. Even the title of his recent article “Our final goal must be to offer a new global deal”(1) smacks you in the gob with its assumption that the G-8 imperialist global Cosa Nostra will define some ultimate world social and economic settlement.
One hurries to the end of the piece looking for a happy ending. But one trips over something, one’s feet entangled – bloodied and slimy forced-feeding tubes. The finale turns out to be radioactive with depleted uranium and stinking from scattered, forlorn, brutally bombarded corpses. Like their mass-murdering cronies in Washington, the Thameside Blair-Brown duumvirate have dumped the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the trash can.
Self-determination of peoples, universal free education and health care, accountable civil and political process are no longer basic universally recognised rights. People are to access them by permission, with ID cards presumably, as client-beneficiaries of a “new global deal”. What if people want some other deal? What if they want the old deal most of the world agreed in that UN Declaration of 1948? One only has to look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine or Haiti for the answer.
Brown’s use of language is a window into the soul of a ruthlessly insistent, globally-designing shyster-marketeer pushing anything he can sell : dreams, tales, lies, torture, war-crimes. Brown is the sinister G-8 version of the perky local grocer who chats you up while keeping one finger pressed surreptitiously on the scales. Or those butcher wholesalers who bloat their meat products with fluid, chortling among themselves “why sell ’em meat when you can sell ’em water…?” Like the corporate company truck-shop made global he fronts for, Gordon Brown offers high-priced fraudulent tat via cheap public relations cant.
Right now he is chasing after the vanished credibility of last year’s Gleneagles agreement. Remember? – the cancellation of poor country debt trumpeted by neo-liberal minstrels and jongleurs – Geldof, Bono and their trendy Make Poverty History bandwagon? Even back in the celebrity mistiness of 2005, that particular “new deal” specified very clearly any benefits were to be clawed back in adjustments to aid flows. Before swallowing Brown’s latest recipe one should read the implicit “buyer beware” notices hidden away in the glib New Labour verbiage. He writes:
“If Make Poverty History shifted from the old calls for charity to the new demand for justice, 2006 must see campaigners and governments moving the agenda beyond addressing the consequences of poverty to attacking its root causes. The delivery of aid is not the final goal, but just the first stage in the process of empowerment.
That is why all developing countries must now produce their own poverty-reduction and development plans – not just for economic empowerment through transparent monetary, fiscal and corporate policies to tackle corruption, but for social empowerment through universal free schooling and healthcare.”
Justice may be “the new demand” for the rotten European political and NGO managerial classes at whose apex sit people like Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. They know very well that the successful anti-colonialist struggles of the second half of the 20th Century were the culmination of centuries-old calls for justice against aggressive, immoral European and US imperialism. So when Brown then talks about attacking the “root causes” of poverty he is being extremely obtuse and insincere. It is worth asking why it is that two words – “reparations” and “indemnity” – seldom appear in this kind of self-congratulatory, narcissistic political drivel about development.
When Gordon Brown puffs and enthuses “all developing countries must now produce their own poverty-reduction and development plans” one can be forgiven for thinking back to wars like those in Mozambique, Angola and Nicaragua and beyond that to the invasion of East Timor, to the Vietnam war and beyond that to the coup against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and the earlier coup in Iran against Mohammed Mossadeq. Back in those days all those countries had their own “poverty-reduction and development” plans. Nicaragua had universal free health care and free universal education when it was attacked by the Reagan administration in the early 1980s.
In all these countries normal life was destroyed by the United States and allies like Britain using military aggression preferably through local proxies, along with the use where necessary of vicious trade and financial measures. In 1986 the International Court of Justice declared the United States guilty of unlawful aggression – terrorism – against Nicaragua. Subsequently, the Court ordered the United States to pay Nicaragua an indemnity totalling US$17 billion. (Yes, Gordon Brown, that’s B for Billion) The US vetoed a vote on the ruling in the UN Security Council and the rest is now playing out in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine and very likely before too long in Iran.
Likewise, Iraq’s secular society was the most advanced in the region in terms of education and healthcare. Its people had their health and education systems progressively eroded and finally systematically destroyed by a decade of genocidal sanctions and now by years of criminal aggressive war. Given that undeniable history, when the Right Honourable Gordon Brown starts talking about justice and the root causes of poverty one might assume he means something like turning himself and his global corporate colleagues over to the International Criminal Court and entering a guilty plea with a request for time to pay.
But that is not what he means. Brown means that now the United States and its allies have destroyed countries like Mozambique, Nicaragua, Haiti, Palestine and Iraq the countries will have to be “empowered”. Having driven them relentlessly down into the dirt, now the global corporate plutocrat elite and their cohort of political valets will
instruct their victims to “empower” themselves to a decent life. Brown proposes,
“a new $4bn-5bn on-call facility for disaster relief and reconstruction – full debt relief for not 38 but all the world’s poorest countries – a new environmental fund for developing countries – a delivery plan produced by developing countries themselves for achieving the millennium development goals – a push by world leaders to restart and complete the trade talks”
The UK Chancellor must have read some aid NGO information pack and recycled the component headings on the back of a Treasury envelope – Disasters, Debt, Environment, Poverty, Trade.
Brown is smart to begin with natural disasters. Anything smacking of human agency would have the prints of him and his accomplices all over it. In fact, US$5 billion is chicken feed in the context of the natural disasters generated recently by the accelerating climate change provoked by unconstrained corporate capitalism. After Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in 1998, Nicaragua alone required US$3 billion for its reconstruction effort. Who will administer these fortunes? Brown seems to have the UN in mind, but most likely the job will be assigned to some entity like the World Bank.
Some such supranational structure controlled by rich countries to apply political and economic intimidation to their victims will be necessary to complement adjustments in rich country leverage caused by “Full debt relief for …..all the world’s poorest countries.” With conditionalities to match, because as Brown himself writes in his piece, “The IMF’s surveillance work – monitoring how countries implement the codes and standards vital to economic stability and growth – must be stepped up and conducted independent of politics.” Saint Gordon says, “Rise up and walk…”, as he breaks a stout IMF timber over the latest victim’s barely stirring head.
Brown’s remaining nostrums are hardly worth a glance. Faced with environmental pollution and damage on the scale caused by his beloved energy, mining and agri-business multinationals, what use is some cosmetic “new environmental fund”? It will be another tombstone on the long death march planned by the global elite for the principle of self-determination of peoples while polluting corporations do what they like. Similarly, the idea of “A delivery plan produced by the countries themselves for achieving the millenium development goals” is superfluous and fake.
Cuba has long beaten the Millenium Development Goals in health and education despite forty five years of despicable, futile economic blockade by the United States. So clearly, it all depends what the “delivery plan” consists of, does it not? If it has anything like “self-determination” or “socialism” written into it then Brown and his European colleagues are likely to collude with the United States in illegal aggression to destroy it.
The article’s cupboard is now bare for globalization’s Grocer Brown. But from under the counter, he pulls up, stale and rancid “,,,a push by world leaders to restart and complete trade talks”. Come buy! Come buy! More of yesterday and the day before’s strong-arming, menaces and subornment. Come buy! More wormy rich country wriggle-jargon. Come buy!
Brown’s grocer routine resembles that of the wicked creatures in Christina Rossetti’s allegory “Goblin Market”. The protagonist, enchanted, falls for the charming pitch of strange little creatures selling apparently luscious fruits. But they are poison after all. She might have died had her faithful sister not tricked the faery folk to save her
Brown and the other corporate globalization twilight-zone denizens have had over twenty years to prove their claims that corporate capitalism can deliver juicy prosperity and luscious democracy instead of biitter-as-wormwood misery, death and exclusion. They have failed wretchedly. Now their failure is obvious they want to erase the 1948 UN Declaration and the International Covenants it yielded on Civil and Political and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
They want it from the bottom of their narcissistic hearts. They want it because they abhor the deep underlying legitimating principle of all those documents – the self-determination of peoples. That principle stymies corporate capitalism’s drive to dominate world markets so as to rig them for the benefit of a small global elite.
At the same time Gordon Brown is publishing unconvincing sanctimonious development blueprints in the Guardian he is certainly planning ways to finance military and economic conflict with Iran. His article in the Guardian is a diversionary piece of mediocre imperialist apologetics in the context of insane preparations for another strategic energy war. The ultimate indirect target of aggression against Iran can only be China, Iran’s most important energy customer(2).
Countries like Iran, or like Cuba and Venezuela have their own legitimate ideas about poverty reduction. Their development plans need nothing from the ideological scraps and left-overs purveyed by global corporate grocers like Gordon Brown. They insist on the visionary settlement reached in 1948 not some corporate-approved Ã¢â‚¬Å“new dealÃ¢â‚¬. That is why they are targets for criminal aggression by the United States, Britain and their allies.
toni solo is an activist based in Central America – contact via:
1. “Our final goal must be to offer a global new deal ” Gordon Brown,
Guardian, January 11 2006 2. “The ties that bind – China, Russia and Iran” Jephraim P Gundzik (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/GF04Ad07.html)